For DonorsFor Applicants
user profile avatar

Ashley Bell

5095

Bold Points

11x

Nominee

2x

Finalist

1x

Winner

Bio

Hi there! I am an aspiring educator and recent Gonzaga University graduate (Master in Initial Teaching for elementary education and reading) looking for a job as a certified elementary school teacher. I plan to foster equitable learning environments through community centered classrooms, trauma sensitive practices and culturally responsive teaching that will meet my students' needs and help them grow personally and academically. With teaching experiences here in the US and abroad, I hope to instill a multicultural perspective that will allow my students to develop empathy and respect for those different from them and pride within their own personal identities. Together, we will collaborate to solve problems, explore the world around us and develop a desire for lifelong learning.

Education

Gonzaga University

Master's degree program
2021 - 2022
  • Majors:
    • Reading Teacher Education
    • Elementary Education and Teaching

Santa Clara University

Bachelor's degree program
2012 - 2016
  • Majors:
    • International Relations and Affairs
    • American Government and Politics (United States)
  • Minors:
    • Japanese Studies

Yuba City High

High School
2008 - 2012
  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Education

    • Dream career goals:

      Elementary Teacher

    • AVID Coach

      Horry County Schools
      2019 – 20201 year
    • Regional Representative

      JET Program
      2018 – 20191 year
    • Assistant Language Teacher

      JET Program
      2016 – 20193 years

    Sports

    Field Hockey

    Varsity
    2009 – 20123 years

    Awards

    • MVP
    • Coach's Award

    Research

    • Public Policy Analysis, General

      Silicon Council of Nonprofits — Public Policy Intern
      2016 – 2016

    Arts

    • Calligraphy
      2016 – 2019

    Public services

    • Volunteering

      Global Medical Brigades — Volunteer
      2013 – 2016
    • Volunteering

      Strive For College — Mentor
      2015 – 2016
    • Volunteering

      Santa Clara University — ESOL Assistant
      2014 – 2014
    • Advocacy

      Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits — Public Policy Intern
      2016 – 2016

    Future Interests

    Advocacy

    Volunteering

    Philanthropy

    Bold Technology Matters Scholarship
    With the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw schools go from in-person to online overnight. It was a stressful time and educators were not prepared for it. Due to this, we scrambled to make things work and were able to create some amazing new technology as a result. As we head back to the classroom, education is changing. Education is about meeting students' needs so that teachers can provide all students with the opportunity to learn, grow and succeed. From our experiences during online instruction, online educational resources are allowing teachers and students more options and flexibility to achieve their best. I think these new technological resources are doing just this and so much more for changing the educational landscape into one where we can truly be there for every student we serve. Technology that has come from the Covid-19 pandemic is allowing education to become more equitable. Through programs like Flipgrid, teachers are able to allow students the chance to participate and show their learning through various means. Students who are absent or feel uncomfortable speaking up in class have the chance to do more and be more through these programs. These resources give students a comfortable space where they can be creative and develop a more personal connection with what they are learning in the classroom. I believe that these platforms are acknowledging that all students do not come from the same mold. Educators cannot expect students to achieve success if they are not given the choices and opportunities that allow them to succeed. Every student is different, and technology like Flipgrid allows students to meet their goals in ways that work best for them. Educational technology is a hot field and I feel like there is always something new to test out within the classroom. As we go about creating educational and personal goals, monitoring student progress, and guiding students toward reaching those goals, having these options is vital. They give students access to a means that ultimately help to give them opportunities to expand and show what they have learned. As students have returned to the classroom, we are seeing the effects of the pandemic. They come in form of trauma and behaviors. They come in the form of lower than grade level assessment scores. To mitigate these barriers, educators must have a variety of resources available for students to choose from and utilize. Only then can we close the gaps and help propel students toward success.
    Loan Lawyers 2021 Annual Scholarship Competition
    Growing up in a low-income household, financial freedom seemed like something unattainable. From a young age, I was very aware of how much money my family did not have and with 4 younger siblings, I took it upon myself not to ask for much. Whatever I needed was not as important as something my brothers and sisters needed. Frugality has always come easily to me. Over the past several years, spending and saving money was about finding a balance, and reaching that balance when you do not have much, to begin with, has been a challenge. Financial freedom is more than just having enough money in your bank account. It is more than just having the privilege to be able to take trips to Hawaii during the holidays or put a down payment on a house. Financial freedom is about not feeling the pressure and stress of knowing you will not have enough. I am currently getting my master's in teaching and it has been a wild ride so far. I am so thankful for the opportunity to further my education and become somebody who can help raise the next generation of global citizens, but every day is still a struggle. In the back of my head, I can't help but wonder how much I will have in my savings next summer and whether that will be enough to pull me through before getting a job. This financial burden has prevented me from going home for the holidays and making financial decisions like not buying a car for the time being. It is stressful and it eats away at me. I hate the feeling of this insecurity. I hate feeling financially unsafe. When I no longer feel this is when I have achieved financial freedom. To me, financial freedom is freedom from the feeling of being financially insecure. From living my life without this privilege, I know getting there will not be easy but every day I am making strides toward that freedom. I am educating myself about my options and making decisions that will help me be in a more secure financial position. I am obtaining my master's which will help propel my career and give me a solid foundation for a salary that will support me and my family. I am applying to scholarships like this one in an effort to decrease my debt and give myself a chance to reach financial freedom sooner. I am doing my best to be optimistic because that negativity can really drag you down. As an educator, I understand how much opportunity can change someone's life. As I go about finding those opportunities for myself, I am also making conscious efforts to give my students those opportunities as well because education is power. I have learned so much over the past few years about what it will take to reach financial freedom and I know it will take a lot of work. But I am here for the challenge because I know that in order for me to be greater than this, I have to strive for it. I have to show my students they can achieve it as well because we all deserve to live a financially safe life.
    Susy Ruiz Superhero Scholarship
    In my first year of high school, I had a teacher named Ms. Masi. Ms. Masi taught English, which was not my favorite subject. I loved to read, but I found first-year English literature to be boring and not representative of my experience as a person from a multicultural background. Instead, I had an interest in travel and language. I often dreamed of far-off places where I could learn and experience the cultures of my family, but it all seemed very much out of my reach. When I joined the Japanese Culture Club, I discovered Ms. Masi was the club advisor. She guided our club meetings, gave us activity suggestions, and told us many stories about herself. She was mixed too, having had a Japanese mother and an American father. She would recall special seasonal dishes her mother would prepare and how she and her sister would wear yukata for summer festivals at the local Buddhist temple. She would also tell us about her time as an English teacher in Osaka, Japan. Her stories inspired me and I think immediately she saw that. During my junior year, I decided that I wanted to learn Japanese. It was not offered at my high school, so I instead applied to take an online course through the University of Alabama. Ms. Masi agreed to be my advisor and exam proctor. For me, this was the first step in being to understand more about myself, my family and study something I was personally interested in. Having a connection to the language and culture herself, Ms. Masi was also able to help me understand certain grammar points and cultural nuances in the language I was learning. I really appreciated this and found much value in the efforts she took to make my learning successful. She saw my potential and supported me by providing me with opportunities where I could continually deepen my understanding and apply myself in the real world. One day, I received a letter saying that I had been nominated to participate in an exchange program. This program was a weeklong exchange with our sister city in Japan and Ms. Masi was the one that wanted me to take part. Ms. Masi was the one teacher I had in high school who saw the potential I had to do more than what our typical high school education required of its students. Without her support, I don’t know if I would have had the same opportunities to learn about myself and what I wanted my future to look like. Because of her, I went on to teach in Japan as well. I discovered how much I enjoy teaching and want to become a teacher. As Ms. Masi did for me, I want to teach with the goal of encouraging my students to follow their own dreams. I want to help students reach their full potential both inside and outside of the classroom. By fostering an equitable and compassionate learning environment, I will meet my student’s needs, help them explore the world around them, and guide them as they grow personally and academically. As a future educator, Ms. Masi continues to inspire me by showing me the kind of impact I want to instill in my students' lives. I am forever grateful that I was able to have her as a teacher.
    "Wise Words" Scholarship
    “The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.” — Issac D’Israeli When I read this quote, I immediately thought of a story. But not just any old story. I thought about the story your parents tell you about the first time they met. I thought of my friend telling me about her journey to the US with her mother and the struggles they faced as they prepared in secret from her father. I thought of the West African tale of Ananzi the spider, whose sons saved him from being swallowed by a fish. These stories are unique and special. They are reflective of our own individual experiences, what we have overcome and how we have grown. They are indicative of our identity and culture, which groups we belong to, and what we value. And they are stories that we choose to remember. As children, we are not born already knowing how to communicate. We have to learn, and we learn best by listening to the stories of others. Their wisdom is passed onto us and we therein figure out how to form words with our mouths. Similarly, we come to understand the dangers of playing near busy streets and that we should not take candy from strangers. As we age, we take those stories and that wisdom to help us navigate the world and figure out who we ultimately want to become. These stories are knowledge in oral, written, and visual form. They teach us lessons, history, and tradition. They teach us what it means to be human. There are so many stories out there, and they are all reflective of the diversity of the human experience. As an educator, teaching strategies that are reflective of this diversity are extremely important to me. Education should be viewed through a diverse lens so that we can make connections with what we are learning and find reflections of ourselves in the stories we explore. The students in our classrooms are diverse and bring different experiences, prior knowledge, and ideas to school. Education should be accurate, authentic, and culturally responsive because teaching and learning through a single story is not indicative of the students we teach and the world we live in. Our experiences and perspectives matter. Single stories erase who we are and where we have been. It disregards the diversity that exists in our societies and creates false narratives. As our students go on to write their own stories, I want them to read stories of people who look just like them. I want them to see videos of other children and adults taking charge and making changes. I want them to hear about the struggles of those who are different from them. Only through this can we foster the next generation of empathetic leaders who know and understand the value our stories can hold.
    Mental Health Movement x Picmonic Scholarship
    My first year of teaching was rough. Imagine a classroom of twenty-five students staring up at you with wide, curious eyes. They are excited to learn and in this space, you have so much influence over whether your students can reach their goals. I would feel sick to my stomach when I arrived at school everyday. I had little experience, so I felt like there was no way I could be the teacher these students needed. These thoughts were intrusive and detrimental to my confidence, and I realized that it was preventing me from becoming the teacher I wanted to be. My anxiety was telling me that I couldn’t become a good teacher. But actions speak louder than the thoughts in your head. It took a lot of time and I made quite a few mistakes. It all started with the understanding that I am capable. With the guidance of my co-teachers and the enthusiasm from my students, I was able to transform myself into the teacher I wanted to be. The confidence that came helped to quiet the anxiety I felt while helping me realize the potential I had had within myself all along. I still have much work to do. Overcoming anxiety isn’t something that just happens over a year of teaching. It truly is a lifelong struggle. I may still doubt myself, but I know that I am still learning and growing into the best version of myself. In my future classrooms, I want to create a space that allows for students going through similar challenges to feel supported and heard. I want my students to understand that they are capable of being successful, no matter the hurdles that may be in their way. Since starting this journey, I have overcome many of my own hurdles. It hasn't been easy, but I know that no matter how anxious I might feel, I am capable of doing the impossible.
    Ethel Hayes Destigmatization of Mental Health Scholarship
    Don’t worry about what you can’t control. I feel like I tell myself this almost every day, but it’s so much easier said than done. Personally, I like being in control. I know myself so well that I can plan out my entire day down to the minute. I know exactly how long it’ll take me to complete a task, how long I’ll need to get from point A to point B, and whether I’ll have time to eat a small snack in between. For me, being in control is easy because it’s predictable. I know that I’ll be able to get done whatever I need to get done, that I'll be safe, and that nothing will go wrong. But life isn’t always like this and when you have anxiety, it’s easy to worry about what you can’t control. My first year of teaching was rough. Imagine a classroom of twenty-five students staring up at you with wide, curious eyes. They are excited to learn and in this space, you have so much influence over whether the students can reach their goals. During my first year teaching, I think I felt anxious before every single class I had. I would feel sick to my stomach when I arrived at school and my heart would race like crazy when discussing lesson plans with my co-teachers. I wanted to be a good teacher, one that made learning fun and exciting. I wanted to help my students grow personally and academically while developing a curiosity for lifelong learning. But, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and that my efforts weren’t what my students actually needed. I was so scared of failing as a teacher because I didn’t want it to negatively affect my student's learning and success. These thoughts were intrusive and detrimental to the confidence I had in me, and I soon realized that it was preventing me from becoming the teacher I wanted to be. My anxiety was telling me that I couldn’t become a good teacher, but actions speak louder than words, right? I am only human and although I may make mistakes, they are opportunities for me to learn and grow. I didn’t want to become these thoughts, so I took action instead. I spent a lot of time observing and learning from my more experienced co-teachers, seeing how they taught and managed the class. It often scared me, but I experimented with their teaching styles and took notes on what worked for me and what didn’t. I got to know every single one of my students so I could truly understand what their needs were. It took a lot of time and I made quite a few mistakes but eventually, I developed more confidence in my abilities to provide a learning environment where I felt my students could succeed. It all started with the understanding that I am capable. With the guidance of my co-teachers and the enthusiasm from my students, I was able to transform myself into the teacher I wanted to be. The confidence that came helped to quiet the anxiety I felt while helping me realize the potential I had within myself all along. Moving forward, I still have much work to do. Overcoming anxiety isn’t something that just happens over a year of teaching. It truly is a lifelong struggle. I may still get intrusive thoughts where I doubt myself, but I have come so far in being able to realize that those thoughts aren’t real unless I let them be real. I might not be able to control these thoughts, but I can take action against letting them control who I want to become. In my future classrooms, I want to create a space that allows for students going through similar challenges to feel supported and heard. I want my students to understand that they are capable of being successful, no matter the hurdles that may be in their way. Since starting this journey, I have overcome many of my own hurdles and It’s been really tough. But, I know that no matter how anxious I might feel if I keep learning and growing, I am capable of overcoming it.
    Elevate Mental Health Awareness Scholarship
    Don’t worry about what you can’t control. I feel like I tell myself this almost every day, but it’s so much easier said than done. Personally, I like being in control. I know myself so well that I can plan out my entire day down to the minute. I know exactly how long it’ll take me to complete a task, how long I’ll need to get from point A to point B, and whether I’ll have time to eat a small snack in between. For me, being in control is easy because it’s predictable. I know that I’ll be able to get done whatever I need to get done, that I'll be safe, and that nothing will go wrong. But life isn’t always like this and when you have anxiety, it’s easy to worry about what you can’t control. My first year of teaching was rough. Imagine a classroom of twenty-five students staring up at you with wide, curious eyes. They are excited to learn and in this space, you have so much influence over whether the students can reach their goals. During my first year teaching, I think I felt anxious before every single class I had. I would feel sick to my stomach when I arrived at school and my heart would race like crazy when discussing lesson plans with my co-teachers. I wanted to be a good teacher, one that made learning fun and exciting. I wanted to help my students grow personally and academically while developing a curiosity for lifelong learning. But, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and that my efforts weren’t what my students actually needed. I was so scared of failing as a teacher because I didn’t want it to negatively affect my student's learning and success. These thoughts were intrusive and detrimental to the confidence I had in me, and I soon realized that it was preventing me from becoming the teacher I wanted to be. My anxiety was telling me that I couldn’t become a good teacher, but actions speak louder than words, right? I am only human and although I may make mistakes, they are opportunities for me to learn and grow. I didn’t want to become these thoughts, so I took action instead. I spent a lot of time observing and learning from my more experienced co-teachers, seeing how they taught and managed the class. It often scared me, but I experimented with their teaching styles and took notes on what worked for me and what didn’t. I got to know every single one of my students so I could truly understand what their needs were. It took a lot of time and I made quite a few mistakes but eventually, I developed more confidence in my abilities to provide a learning environment where I felt my students could succeed. It all started with the understanding that I am capable. With the guidance of my co-teachers and the enthusiasm from my students, I was able to transform myself into the teacher I wanted to be. The confidence that came helped to quiet the anxiety I felt while helping me realize the potential I had within myself all along. Moving forward, I still have much work to do. Overcoming anxiety isn’t something that just happens over a year of teaching. It truly is a lifelong struggle. I may still get intrusive thoughts where I doubt myself, but I have come so far in being able to realize that those thoughts aren’t real unless I let them be real. I might not be able to control these thoughts, but I can take action against letting them control who I want to become. In my future classrooms, I want to create a space that allows for students going through similar challenges to feel supported and heard. I want my students to understand that they are capable of being successful, no matter the hurdles that may be in their way. Since starting this journey, I have overcome many of my own hurdles and It’s been really tough. But, I know that no matter how anxious I might feel if I keep learning and growing, I am capable of overcoming it.
    A Sani Life Scholarship
    In March of 2020, I was in a plane flying towards Kingston, Jamaica, ready to start my service with the Peace Corps. During the bus ride to the city, news of Jamaica's first COVID-19 case played over the radio. I remember my entire cohort going silent for a few seconds as we listened. Little did I know, we would be required to evacuate as countries across the world began going into lockdown a week later. When I came back home, it felt very surreal. My next 27 months had been planned out and suddenly my life teaching literacy at a Jamaican primary school was no more. For the next couple of months, I bunkered down with my family and waited. I don't think I left the house at all during this time. The news was filled with frantic headlines, but I was hopeful that things would get better quickly. I still had my service to return to. The first time I left my house, I had so much anxiety. I remember messaging a friend to tell him I was taking a week-long trip to the mountains with my family. We were hoping to get away from it all, but I felt too overwhelmed. Since I had not spent much time outside of my house since lockdown began, I was terrified at the thought of going back out into the real world. I think this was the first time I realized how much everything was affecting me. Throughout the coming months, I felt angry and frustrated. I spent the entire month of June crying. I found myself at a standstill. My goals and dreams no longer seemed attainable and I didn't know what to do. I was exhausted and tried to avoid all the news. One day, I received a message from the Peace Corps. My heart was pounding so hard it physically hurt to open the email. It was everything I didn't want it to be. Thank you for your continued interest, but due to circumstances out of our control, we cannot anticipate when you will be able to return. This is when I realized that I needed a change, a new goal to focus my energy on. So I began studying. I spent the next 6 months watching videos on a variety of subjects; literacy instruction, algebra, world history, earth and space science. I had decided to move forward with pursuing my teaching credential and reviewing elementary subject areas was the first step. I took it slow, each month focusing on a new topic. When the new year came around, I submitted my first application for graduate school. It was strange because I was not supposed to be doing this yet. I was supposed to be in Jamaica, working in a primary school classroom and teaching students how to read, but I needed to focus on what I could do right now. When COVID-19 entered my life, I had no idea how much it would change me. I was challenged in ways that I had never been before and was forced to come to terms with the fact that an opportunity missed is not an opportunity lost forever. Even if events in my life were out of my control, I still had control over my own decisions. I decided to hold on to hope that everything would get better even when it seemed like it wouldn’t. I saw this happening all over the world as well. People of different countries and different cultures were coming together to stay at home, applauding healthcare workers and choosing to wear masks. Holding onto hope meant doing our best to protect our friends and families despite the toll it might take on our mental health. It was and still is about empathy and community. Upon writing this essay, I am a month away from starting my Master in Initial Teaching program at Gonzaga University. It is exciting to finally be moving forward, but I would be lying if 2020 still doesn't get me down. When I reflect on it, I am still sad about everything the world has lost over the last year, but there is still hope. I am proud of everything the world has accomplished, coming together virtually when we could not do so in person. I am proud of everything I have accomplished by finding a purpose when everything seemed completely out of my hands. 2020 was a whirlwind, but I have persevered and I know the rest of the world will too.
    Undiscovered Brilliance Scholarship for African-Americans
    What a teacher values plays an important role in how a teacher can shape the kind of learning environments their classrooms will be. As an aspiring educator, I want to become a teacher who develops her own value-centered classroom where students can learn and grow into respectable global citizens. As a result, I live my life through these three values; think curiously, have empathy and collaborate for the good of all. By practicing all three, I believe I can create an equitable learning space that will support and give every student the opportunity to be successful. I am an avid lifelong learner who holds much curiosity for the world around me. I have had the privilege of traveling to many places, learning other languages, and living alongside the locals. I have done my best to utilize the world around me as my classroom. As a teacher, I want to bring that same curiosity into my own classroom. I want my students to feel free enough to ask questions that challenge existing norms about the world around them. A learning environment where curiosity is at the center means students have the chance to think more critically about what they are personally interested in, inquire more about it and share their findings with the class. When education is curiosity-focused, I believe students will feel more motivated and inspired to explore both inside and outside of the classroom. We live in a diverse world and the students within our classrooms are just as diverse. They come from different backgrounds and have different learning needs. As an educator, I know how important it is to understand and empathize with my students. Depending on their personal situations, likes, dislikes, and experiences, teachers can come to understand their student's needs and how best to meet them. Empathy is a value that I want all of my students to be able to understand and embody themselves. Everyone is different, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be respected. By exploring empathy within our everyday learning, we will come to appreciate the diversity that exists not only in the world but also within the classroom. A classroom is more than a place where teachers teach and students learn. A classroom is a community where everyone works as a team to succeed. As a result, fostering teamwork in the classroom is essential. Planning lessons and activities that allow both students and teachers to collaborate can help form meaningful relationships between the two. Collaboration also allows for different minds to come together to solve problems, creating a space where students have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on how best to approach a task. I want my future classroom to be built on the contributions of my students. Their ideas, hopes, and aspirations are important and classrooms should be centered around working together to bring them to life. When I envision my future classroom, I see an equitable learning space where teachers and students can work together to build a caring community for growth and development. This summer, I will begin my teaching degree and am excited to put my ideas into practice while developing the skills needed to be an amazing educator. As a future teacher, I will do my best to create a classroom community where students can achieve their goals, striving to do their best without fear of being judged. Learning will be fun and interactive while constantly encouraging students to think outside of their bubble. Together, we will go above and beyond, motivating each other to do our best while striving for success. Curiosity, empathy, and collaboration are values that I do my best to embody in my everyday life, and hope to be a role model within my own future classroom.
    Impact Scholarship for Black Students
    What a teacher values plays an important role in how a teacher can shape the kind of learning environments their classrooms will be. As an aspiring educator, I want to become a teacher who develops her own value-centered classroom where students can learn and grow into respectable global citizens. As a result, I live my life through these three values; think curiously, have empathy and collaborate for the good of all. By practicing all three, I believe I can create an equitable learning space that will support and give every student the opportunity to be successful. I am an avid lifelong learner who holds much curiosity for the world around me. I have had the privilege of traveling to many places, learning other languages, and living alongside the locals. I have done my best to utilize the world around me as my classroom. As a teacher, I want to bring that same curiosity into my own classroom. I want my students to feel free enough to ask questions that challenge existing norms about the world around them. A learning environment where curiosity is at the center means students have the chance to think more critically about what they are personally interested in, inquire more about it and share their findings with the class. When education is curiosity-focused, I believe students will feel more motivated and inspired to explore both inside and outside of the classroom. We live in a diverse world and the students within our classrooms are just as diverse. They come from different backgrounds and have different learning needs. As an educator, I know how important it is to understand and empathize with my students. Depending on their personal situations, likes, dislikes, and experiences, teachers can come to understand their student's needs and how best to meet them. Empathy is a value that I want all of my students to be able to understand and embody themselves. Everyone is different, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be respected. By exploring empathy within our everyday learning, we will come to appreciate the diversity that exists not only in the world but also within the classroom. A classroom is more than a place where teachers teach and students learn. A classroom is a community where everyone works as a team to succeed. As a result, fostering teamwork in the classroom is essential. Planning lessons and activities that allow both students and teachers to collaborate can help form meaningful relationships between the two. Collaboration also allows for different minds to come together to solve problems, creating a space where students have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on how best to approach a task. I want my future classroom to be built on the contributions of my students. Their ideas, hopes, and aspirations are important and classrooms should be centered around working together to bring them to life. When I envision my future classroom, I see an equitable learning space where teachers and students can work together to build a caring community for growth and development. This summer, I will begin my teaching degree and am excited to put my ideas into practice while developing the skills needed to be an amazing educator. As a future teacher, I will do my best to create a classroom community where students can achieve their goals, striving to do their best without fear of being judged. Learning will be fun and interactive while constantly encouraging students to think outside of their bubble. Together, we will go above and beyond, motivating each other to do our best while striving for success. Curiosity, empathy, and collaboration are values that I do my best to embody in my everyday life, and hope to be a role model within my own future classroom.
    AMPLIFY Mental Health Scholarship
    Don’t worry about what you can’t control. I feel like I tell myself this almost every single day, but it’s so much easier said than done. Personally, I like being in control. For me, being in control is easy because it’s predictable. I know that I’ll be able to get done whatever I need to get done, that I'll be safe, and that nothing will go wrong. But life isn’t always like this and when you have anxiety, it’s easy for your worries to get out of control. My first year of teaching was rough. Imagine a classroom of twenty-five students staring up at you with wide, curious eyes. They are excited to learn and in this space, you have so much influence over whether the students have the supportive and positive learning environment they need to succeed. I think I felt anxious before every single class I had. I would feel sick to my stomach when I arrived at school and my heart would race like crazy when discussing lesson plans with my co-teachers. Despite physically feeling unwell, I knew I still wanted to be a good teacher, one that made learning fun and exciting. I wanted to help my students grow personally and academically while developing a curiosity for lifelong learning. But, I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing and that my efforts weren’t what my students actually needed. I was so scared of failing because I didn’t want it to negatively affect my student's learning and success. These thoughts were intrusive and detrimental to the confidence I had in myself as a teacher, and I soon realized that it was preventing me from becoming the teacher I wanted to be. My anxiety is like a dull headache. It doesn’t always hurt, but it is still there pounding away behind my eyes. But actions speak louder than words, right? I am only human and although I may make mistakes, they are opportunities for me to learn and grow. I didn’t want to become these thoughts, so I decided to take action instead. I spent time observing and learning from my more experienced co-teachers, seeing how they taught and managed their class. It often scared me, but I experimented with their teaching styles and took notes on what worked for me and what didn’t. I got to know every single one of my students so I could truly understand what their needs were and could make lessons to meet those needs. It took a lot of time and I made quite a few mistakes but eventually, I developed more confidence in my abilities to provide a learning environment where I felt my students could succeed. With the guidance of my co-teachers and the enthusiasm from my students, I was able to transform myself into the teacher I wanted to be. It all started with the understanding that I am capable, which helped me realize the potential I had had within myself all along. Moving forward, I still have much work to do. Overcoming anxiety isn’t something that just happens over a year of teaching. It truly is a lifelong struggle. I may still get intrusive thoughts where I doubt myself, but I have come so far in being able to realize that those thoughts aren’t real unless I let them be real. I might not be able to control these thoughts, but I can take action against letting them control who I want to become and help support others who feel the same. In my future classrooms, I want to create a space that allows for students going through similar challenges to feel supported and heard. I want my students to understand that they are capable of being successful, no matter the hurdles that may be in their way. Since starting this journey, I have overcome many of my own hurdles and it has been really tough. But, I know that no matter how anxious I might feel, if I keep learning and growing, I am capable of overcoming anything my anxiety may throw at me.
    Charles R. Ullman & Associates Educational Support Scholarship
    It takes a village to raise a child. As an educator, I understand the importance of this African proverb well. Education doesn't just take place in the classroom, but at home and within our communities too. I believe community and education are intrinsically linked, and together can promote positive learning environments both inside and outside of the classroom. Our communities are diverse and everyone has something they can bring to the table. I believe young people, in particular, have thoughts, ideas, experiences, and skills that are valuable and can be utilized to bring forth thoughtful insight to important conversations. By working together, young people can help their communities thrive, find solutions to various problems and facilitate positive change. But, this can only happen if young people realize the potential they have to be active members of their communities. This is where teachers can come into play, and through inclusive, community-focused education, students can grow and develop to become active members of their communities. During my three years teaching English in Japan, I supplemented my lessons by bringing the wider global community into my classrooms. As the only foreign teacher in the school, I had the responsibility of introducing the world to my students. Through cultural exchange, my students developed empathy and understanding of people in different countries while gaining more confidence in their own skills and abilities. Together, we were able to view English as more than just a second language, but as a tool to utilize as we begin our journey to becoming future global citizens. With that in mind, my students have gone on to participate in a variety of competitions, have become volunteers to support foreign tourists, and have become leaders of various clubs and sports teams. Overall, my students have developed their voices and are using them to discover how they can help support and uplift their communities. One particular student I had was a junior high schooler named Akito. When I first met him, he was a very happy student who was excited to begin working on his next speech competition. He had participated in English speech competitions before, but this one was going to be different. He was entering the competition as an “original applicant” and was expected to write an original speech on a topic of his choice. He decided to write his speech about the village he grew up in. I was also living in the village at the time, so it was exciting to see the village through his eyes. After many edits, we completed the speech and began practicing. Akito spent hours after school and on the weekends practicing the presentation of his speech. He put so much time and effort into it and when it was time to perform, I was blown away. In front of students, teachers, and government officials from across the prefecture, he spoke about his love for his village but his concern for the declining population. He spoke of his ideas for bringing more people to the village and his excitement for everything he wished to contribute after his future education goals were fulfilled. When he was finished, I was so proud. Akito not only wrote and performed an incredible speech, but he used his platform to spark a conversation about his love for his community and what he wanted to contribute to help combat issues brought on by its declining population. Akito did not win the speech contest, but nonetheless, he did an amazing job of using his voice to spark a dialogue that has resulted in many positive community initiatives. The wider community we are all a part of is diverse and everyone has something they can contribute toward helping our community thrive. As a future certified teacher, my goal is to help facilitate educational spaces that will help young people grow and develop into responsible global citizens so that they can discover how they can contribute to their communities as well. I hope to accomplish this by bringing my international experience into my future classrooms, placing emphasis on diversity, and promoting inclusiveness in our educational endeavors. Together, I believe we can support and guide the next generation towards taking more active roles in their communities and develop the confidence to use their voices for positive change.
    Act Locally Scholarship
    When I look at the world, I see a diverse and amazing place. I feel this innate desire to go and explore, learn and discover. I see our differences and I want to share them with everyone because our differences are worth celebrating. But I also see fear and hatred. I see intolerance and discrimination. It scares me to know that our differences can bring out so much negativity, but I know there is much about our differences that we should be proud of. As a future teacher, my goal is to build classrooms that foster, support, and uplift diversity within our communities. I believe cultivating this mindset begins in the classroom and that teachers hold great responsibility in helping to shape the values of their students. When learning is inclusive, all students will have opportunities to succeed both inside and outside of the classroom. Through this mindset, I hope to instill values of empathy, tolerance, and respect for others within the next generation. From 2016 to 2019, I worked as an assistant language teacher within a small Japanese village to promote cultural exchange through English language education. During those three years, I was able to forge relationships that helped to inspire and motivate my students to utilize the world as their classroom. Through my daily lessons, I was able to encourage my students to use English to communicate with those who are different than them. When you learn another language, you learn how to think, behave and engage with others through a different mindset. I was amazed at how I was able to open the world up for my students to explore by helping them develop a curiosity for the culture and people that exist in the English-speaking world. My experience as a foreign teacher helped me to discover my own passion for teaching and how much I want to do the same for students in my home country. As I begin my graduate studies, I am excited to see how I can continue to act locally to make positive change. When I look at the world today, I see much fear and hate but I also see hope. Be the change you want to see in the world. As I finish writing this essay, Mahatma Gandhi's words run through my head. As a future teacher, I will do my best to bring the world into my classroom. I will make diversity and inclusion a priority, so my students will have the chance to learn from others and share who they are without fear of being judged. Together, we will set the foundation for a new generation of socially aware and respectful global citizens. My students will have empathy, tolerance, and respect for others while seeing the value in diverse spaces. When I envision the future, I see an equitable learning environment where people of all backgrounds can work together to build caring communities for growth and development. We will cherish each other's differences and work together knowing that our experiences have shaped us into valuable assets for social change.
    Brady Cobin Law Group "Expect the Unexpected" Scholarship
    When I think about the word legacy, I think about the impact I want to make on my future students through the values I want to instill within our classroom. What a teacher values plays an important role in how they can shape the kind of learning environments their classrooms will be. As an aspiring educator who wants to develop her own globalized classroom, I want to create a space where students can feel inspired to learn while growing into respectable global citizens. As a result, I plan to center my classroom around three values; think curiously, have empathy and collaborate for the good of all. With all three, I believe I can create an equitable learning environment that will help students use their potential to reach their goals. I am an avid lifelong learner who holds much curiosity for the world around me. I have traveled to many places, learned other languages, and lived alongside the locals. I do my best to utilize the world around me as my classroom. As a teacher, I want to bring that same curiosity into my own classroom. A learning environment where curiosity is at the center means students have the chance to think more critically about what they are personally interested in, inquire more about it and share their findings with the class. When education is curiosity-focused, I believe students will feel more motivated and inspired to explore both inside and outside of the classroom. We live in a diverse world and the students within our classrooms are just as diverse. They come from different backgrounds and have different learning needs. As an educator, I know how important it is to understand and empathize with my students. Depending on their personal situations, likes, dislikes, and views on learning as a whole, teachers can come to understand their students' needs and how best to meet them. Empathy is a value that I want all of my students to be able to understand and embody themselves. Everyone is different, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be respected. By exploring empathy within our everyday learning, we will come to appreciate the diversity that exists not only in the world but also within the classroom. A classroom is more than a place where teachers teach and students learn. A classroom is a community where everyone works as a team to succeed. As a result, fostering teamwork in the classroom is essential. Planning lessons and activities that allow both students and teachers to collaborate can help form meaningful relationships between the two. Collaboration also allows for different minds to come together to solve problems, creating a space where students have the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions on how best to approach a task. I want my future classroom to be built on the contributions of my students. Their ideas, hopes, and aspirations are important and classrooms should be centered around working together to bring them to life. I want the legacy I leave behind to go beyond what I am remembered for. I want my students to embody the curiosity, empathy, and collaboration that I strongly believe are essential for inspiring young minds to become lifelong learners. When I envision the future, I see an equitable environment where people of all backgrounds can work together to build caring communities for growth and development. I believe this all starts in the classroom and that teachers hold key roles in helping to instill these values within our future generations. In my future classroom, I will do my best to make learning fun and interactive while allowing my students to work together to solve problems and learn about the world around them. Together, we will go above and beyond, motivating each other to do our best while giving everyone the opportunity to strive for success.
    BIPOC Educators Scholarship
    For me, education is more than just the subjects taught and the grades earned. It is about teachers and students working together to learn and grow both inside and outside of the classroom. I discovered I wanted to become a teacher when I began working as an Assistant Language Teacher through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Program. I spent 3 years at an elementary and junior high school, teaching around 200 students within a small village. Having never worked as a teacher before, let alone in a foreign country, my first year was very tough. But with the help of my fellow co-teachers, I was able to learn about education within a different cultural context while discovering my role as both a teacher and a cultural ambassador. Every day was a challenge but also a chance to grow as an educator while watching my students develop as language learners. In all, I aimed for each lesson to be an opportunity for cross-cultural exchange and I was amazed at how I could share my culture while inspiring my students to learn more about the world around them. When my time in Japan came to an end, I had decided I wanted to become a teacher. Upon returning to the US, I wanted to continue working in classrooms and see what I could do to support students here at home. I accepted a job as an AVID Coach at a local high school where I worked with students from diverse backgrounds and was able to support them in achieving their dreams of attending college. Through working with students of color, I was able to connect with them, share my past experiences as a college student, and encourage them to take their education beyond the classroom. Through this experience, I was able to expand upon my own experiences as a foreign teacher and apply it to supporting diversity initiatives in education. Growing up as a student of color, I understand how it is essential for education to foster and support diverse students so they can feel pride in who they are and their own ability to succeed. As a future teacher, I want to continue supporting diverse students while creating inclusive classrooms that will allow everyone to reach their fullest potential. With teaching experiences both here in the US and abroad, I want to make an impact by creating an inclusive and equitable learning classroom environment. In this space, my students can explore the world around them, develop their skills and become successful and responsible global citizens. believe the classroom is a space for inquiry, where students can ask questions about topics they are interested in and discover the answers through collaborating together. By utilizing the world as our classroom, I believe I can help my students go above and beyond, and together, we can motivate each other to do our best while striving for success.
    Mental Health Movement Scholarship
    Since I was a small child, I have always been pretty quiet. I would often hide behind my parents when we met new people and I didn't speak much at school. All I knew was that these situations were scary and didn't make me feel good. As I got older, school got difficult. I was required to do speeches and presentations in front of my classes but whenever I made any kind of effort, I would trip over my words and speak too fast. My hands would shake and my chest would get splotchy and red. I would often give myself headaches. When I got into high school, everyone was getting their driver's license. To me, getting behind the wheel was terrifying and I kept thinking about how I didn't want to get into an accident. So while my friends passed their road tests, I never took mine. It wasn't until I got into college that I realized I have anxiety and that it was controlling my life. I wanted to apply myself to the best of my abilities, but I kept thinking about all the "what ifs". Physically, it hurt to feel that scared. One day, I found myself at home, alone, and knew I couldn't carry on like this. I booked a flight a month in advance and when the day came, I gave myself plenty of time to get to the airport. Before I knew it, I was exploring places I never believed I would be able to before. During this trip, I took time to understand my anxiety, where it stems from, and how to combat it. The most important thing I realized was that I needed to be kind and patient with myself. As a future teacher, I want to help students with anxiety live up to their potential and support them in reaching their goals. By utilizing my experiences, I hope to create an environment where they can grow and develop more confidence within themselves. Overcoming anxiety takes time but I hope I can help make it a little easier.
    Nikhil Desai "Favorite Film" Scholarship
    My favorite film is Hayao Miyazaki's "Princess Mononoke". The first time I saw this film, I was blown away by how beautiful I thought it was. It follows the story of Prince Ashitaka, who is attacked by a god-turned-demon in his village in eastern Japan. Due to the attack, he becomes afflicted with a poison that forces him to leave his home and travel west in search of a cure. During his travels, Ashitaka meets San, the girl raised by wolf gods. She opens his eyes to the reality of his countrymen at war, not only with themselves but with nature as well. I believe this film is an incredible embodiment of traditional Japanese culture mixed with themes surrounding whether humans and nature can coexist peacefully. It allows the viewer to see how human activity can have detrimental consequences on the environment and how heroes to some might be villains to others. To this day, it has remained one of my favorite films and I highly recommend everyone see it, especially those who are interested in Japanese culture, both modern and traditional.
    Bold Moments No-Essay Scholarship
    I spent 3 years as an English teacher in Japan between 2016 and 2019. It was one of the most amazing experiences and helped to propel me into my dream of becoming an elementary school teacher. These photos show my students and I hand-planting and hand-harvesting rice in our own tiny plot near the school. Rice is an essential part of the Japanese diet and culture, and together my students and I were able to grow and cultivate some of our own! This photo makes me proud because it shows how we can accomplish amazing feats as a team.